Specter, Casey, Dahlkemper Advocate for Manufacturing Jobs in Upcoming Jobs Bill

Letter to Reid, Pelosi touts benefits of investing in domestic rail industry, including the retention of good-paying manufacturing jobs

WASHINGTON, DC- Today, U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, and Representative Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3) urged congressional leaders to support Amtrak’s request for $300 million in the upcoming job creation legislation for acquisition of next-generation, diesel-electric locomotives.  The letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, states that the funding will help to sustain the domestic rail industry during the current economic downturn as well as help to establish a stronger, greener passenger rail system.

“Amtrak is well positioned to play a major role in the ongoing effort to create jobs, bolster the domestic rail manufacturing industry, and strengthen our country's passenger rail service,” they wrote.  “The replacement of older locomotives will meet national goals for securing the domestic manufacturing industry, as well as improving passenger rail safety, on-time reliability, fuel savings, and emissions reduction.” 
The letter notes that the manufacturing industry continues to be one of the hardest hit by the economic downturn.  The letter specifically references GE Transportation, an Erie-based company that announced layoffs of more than 1,600 employees in September.  Should Congress allocate this funding for acquisition of locomotives, Amtrak will establish a competitive bid process through which funding will be awarded.

Full text of the letter follows.  A pdf version is available here.


Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid:

We write to support Amtrak’s request for $300 million in job creation legislation for the acquisition of new long haul, diesel-electric locomotives that will create and maintain nearly 2,000 green, good-paying, manufacturing jobs.  This funding will also help sustain our domestic rail manufacturing industry during the current economic downturn and develop a more robust, reliable, and environmentally-friendly passenger rail system. 

This initiative has great potential to create jobs through expanded opportunities for the manufacturing industry.  The manufacturing industry continues to be one of the hardest hit by the economic downturn with a total of 2.1 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2007, including 41,000 jobs lost in December.  Domestic rail manufacturing has had significant layoffs, which also threatens our ability to maintain this vital manufacturing base in the United States.  For example, in September, GE Transportation announced layoffs of more than 1,600 employees, and we understand it faces further cuts should the industry continue to suffer. 

Amtrak is well positioned to play a major role in the ongoing effort to create jobs, bolster the domestic rail manufacturing industry, and strengthen our country's passenger rail service.  The replacement of older locomotives will meet national goals for securing the domestic manufacturing industry, as well as improving passenger rail safety, on-time reliability, fuel savings, and emissions reduction. 

Given the importance of job creation to the manufacturing industry, we respectfully request inclusion of a specific set aside for Amtrak to procure long haul, diesel-electric locomotives.  

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,


Arlen Specter
U.S. Senator
                                  
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
U.S. Senator

Kathy Dahlkemper
Member of Congress         


cc: The Honorable Steny Hoyer, Majority Leader
     The Honorable Richard Durbin
     The Honorable Byron Dorgan
     The Honorable David Obey   


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